Importance of War-Crimes Trials in the Region

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BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina organized a round table on war-crimes trials held before courts in countries in this region held in Belgrade on September 16, 2011.

The aim of the round table, co-organized by the Humanitarian Law Center and OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, ODIHR from Belgrade, was to point to the importance of trials for war crimes conducted before local courts in the entire region.

Round table participants discussed the achievements made after the transfer of jurisdiction from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY to local courts, protection of victims and witnesses at trials held before local courts in the region and ICTY’s residual mechanism.

Besides prosecutions and courts from countries in the region, representatives of organizations for protection of human rights, ODIHR and ICTY, as well as victims and witnesses addressed the round table participants.

About 50 participants from the whole region attended the round table. They had an opportunity to discuss the processing of war crimes after judges, prosecutors and representatives of human rights institutions from the Republic of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo have presented their stands.

Nerma Jelacic, Spokesperson of the Hague Tribunal, legal professionals and ODIHR representatives spoke about the transfer of knowledge and competencies of ICTY, while John Hocking, Registrar of the Hague Tribunal, discussed the residual mechanism.